Because of a recent series of murders in the small villages near the Town of Ennui a local militia is called into action. The adventurers volunteer for this duty independent of each other. They meet the other adventurers the recruitment office for the first time. This is where their adventure shall begin.
While they wait in the office, they have some time to get to know each other.
//It's a great idea to call to action directly, especially when playing with new players. (e.g.: "You now have some waiting time. Use it to get to know each other!") It's okay to abort this conversation, if they don't know what to talk about or don't feel comfortable yet. There will be another opportunity for talking later.
After that they get called to the other room. There they meet a Sheriff who introduces herself as Sheriff Hestia. She seems confident and disciplined. Before asking each adventurer about their strengths, she gives a short speech: "To end this series of crimes, we're going to be stationed all over the city. It will be some hard days, but our thoughts of our friends, families and at last our own safety will give us the strength not to feel any exhaustion or tiredness. By following my commands this crime spree will be put to its end soon. To get you deployed where you will be of best use, you now gonna tell me your skills and after a small bureaucratic hurdle I'll give you your first assignment." After the short survey of the adventurer's strengths she first gives them fitting gear: gambeson, steel helmet, and a club for each of them. Additionally those skilled in melee combat get a spear and shield, those skilled in ranged combat get a crossbow. One of the small party is immediately promoted to militia officer and gets an additional steel breastplate and a shortsword instead of the club. All this gear is written down on the militia gear document, together with the adventurer's and the sheriff's name and the adventurer's profession. Also, the adventurers have to pawn something valuable which they will get back after their militia duty is over and their gear is returned. After that each adventurer signs their document. Most likely not every adventurer will be able to write, as most of Ennui's people haven't visited school, so they should only sign with a X or something like that.
//It's okay, if some of the players feel a bit grumpy when their character cannot write or gets worse gear than the others. It's important to show the different roles of the characters early on. It serves as a small lesson in the possibility of arbitrary decisions of the game master, too. If they should get upset about it, they should be remembered to act out their fury in character.
After that the Sheriff gives her first order: the adventurers are tasked with visiting a recent crime scene. It is located in a small village about a hour of walking from their current location. A farmer called Methilda , who currently is in the village, reported the crime and will give additional information to the adventurers. After a short walk the adventurers pass the city gates, which are well guarded by other militia soldiers. By showing their militia gear document they can pass with no hassle, however. While walking on the small road leading to the village they have once more the opportunity to get to know each other.
When they reach the small village, which consists of nothing more than four houses and a large stable, they immediately get greeted by Methilda. She tells them of a sliced open cow, which lies at the end of the pasture near the forest. She begs the adventurers to look into it, even if it is just one cow, and warns them of wolfs which might feast from the cadaver.
//If the adventurers decide not to help, that's okay, too. Even if they skip their chance to learn the fighting system. No tutorial is as important as player freedom. In that case the sheriff should just agree with them that a cow probably isn't related to the case.
On their search for the cow the adventurers don't find any wolfs, but a murder of brats! The little bastards don't like to be interrupted while feasting and attack the adventurers immediately. After the fight the cadaver of the cow reveals deep cuts, which are clearly inflicted by a manmade weapon.
//The fight against the brats shouldn't be that hard, as it only is an introduction to the fighting system. After killing of a few brats, the others should flee in terror.
After they reported to Methilda, who gives them some goodies as a thank you, they go back to the city. There they are already waited for by the sheriff. She requests a quick update and then tells the adventurers her new plan: to put a prisoner in a small hut - as bait for the murderer. After a quick walk to this hut they meet up with another militia soldier. This soldier guards the rear window, while the sheriff and the adventurers hide in some bushes and guard the entry door. Here they again have the opportunity to silently talk to each other.
//It's important to give the players many opportunities to get to know the others' characters - especially at the start of a new adventure. Because of that these conversations should only be interrupted, when they don't have to say anything anymore.
After a while the guard behind the house gives the alarm and the sheriff gives the adventurers the sign to follow her silently. They position themselves in front of the door for some time and take a deep breath, before the sheriff kicks in the door and rushes inwards. The adventurers follow her closely. Inside they witness a horrific scene: a pale man dressed in black cloth stares them in their eyes. His face is covered in the blood of the prisoner, who's throat he cut. He apparently also uses the blood to write a letter. When the sheriff grabs her pistol, the man draws a revolver quick as lightning and shoots her once in the chest and once in the head. Before the adventurers can react the jumps out the window, where he fires his revolver a third time. After that there is only silence. He only left behind a few clumps of lead and the letter.
//As last time, some adventurers may not be able to read the letter! Also the soldier guarding the window is shot dead, in case the adventurers wanna look for them. The man responsible for the killings is a vampire obviously, but this shouldn't be told to the players. It's more fun for everyone if they can come up with their own theories.
When visiting the hideout of the vampire the adventurers find themselves before a locked door. After overcoming this obstacle they find a clean room containing nothing else than a simple bed and a small desk. On top of the desk is a beautiful lockbox.
//For overcoming the door there isn't a single solution. The adventurers should come up with their own ideas and the game master should empower them to do so. They could try to kick it in or search for a rear entry or a window. Who knows, maybe they just burn down the whole building? The same is true for the lockbox.
Inside the lockbox is a steel dagger, which's pommel is decorated with a black gem. While they admire their new possession, the vampire sneaks up from behind, ready to strike. He's armed with a bastard sword and dressed in wide brown clothes.
//This fight should feel hard. Even if the enemy is lightly armed, he has a lot of combat experience. The game master shouldn't shy from giving the adventurers some wounds when struck by him. At the same time the vampire should be vulnerable himself, as he is not well armored. The black gem is enchanted with a powerful spell that will enpower the dagger to resurrect any creature slain by it.
After beating the enemy, the adventurers spot the letters S E T H U S scarified into the skin beneath his throat.
//Now it's time for the players to decide on their own how they wanna proceed. The game master could of course cross their plans with some unexpected events. Maybe they just return to their prior lives after they told the authorities all about the case. Or they immediately try to find the other vampire. Or they get accused of murdering the sheriff and have to leave Ennui, desperately trying to proof their innocence. Or something completely different happens...
Trial of a Robber Baron
Related Lore: Robber Barons
A child of robber barons has no easy life. The parents put a constant pressure on their child, even at a early age. 'Cause what would think the other relatives of them if their child hasn't at least one or two chests full of treasure to call their own? Gerd the Frail would turn in his grave would he ever witness a robber baron without ambition!
One of our adventurers is such a child. They of course get pressured to finally do a successful raid by their parents. For this task the parents recruit some followers for their child, who s0lely consist of the other adventurers, of course.
The adventurers shall present their combined combat skills in a training fight. For this the parents prepared a square field and some goons to act as the enemies. All participants are armed with wooden training weapons, representing their actual armament. When hit by a weapon one must exit the training field and stay there for three turns. Only when all enemies are forced out of the field the parents will finally be pleased.
//This fight of course is a tutorial to learn the fighting system. Because of the training weapons, the players can get comfortable without facing any real danger.
After the successful training fight the adventurers head to a local inn, where they spend the evening and night. At dawn they pack up their stuff and leave the castle for their first raid.
//While dining at the inn the adventurers have the opportunity to get to know each other. The actual raid lies in the hands of the creativity of both players and game master.